Women in Tech: “The same salary for the same work should be a given”

research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology confirmed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which may clarify why tech corporations have began to spend money on initiatives that goal to spice up the variety of feminine candidates, recruit them in a simpler approach, retain them for longer, and provides them the chance to advance. But is it sufficient?

Three years in the past, we launched a variety collection aimed toward bringing essentially the most inspirational and highly effective ladies within the tech scene to your consideration. Today, we’d such as you to fulfill Laura Fink, Head of Data Science at Micromata.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Laura Fink, Head of Data Science at Micromata


Laura Fink first studied biology and physics on the University of Flensburg earlier than dedicating herself solely to physics on the LMU Munich. She then began her profession as a software program developer for Java on the software program firm Micromata. Through her participation within the analysis mission VAMINAP for the detection of pollutant residues in purified water, she got here into intensive contact with Machine Learning and Data Science after which moved on to Python and R.

As Head of Data Science, she is now driving ahead the event of knowledge science competence within the firm and commonly publishes present and use instances on the matters of knowledge evaluation, machine studying and pc imaginative and prescient.

When did you grow to be fascinated by expertise?

My curiosity in engineering and pc science developed very late, throughout the last part of my physics research – extra exactly within the biophysics laboratory. I discovered it extremely thrilling how scientific issues may very well be solved and questions answered utilizing all of the tools, mathematical fashions and specifically written software program, a few of which was assembled by college students themselves. It was then that I first actually realized how complicated and artistic working with knowledge and expertise might be.

At faculty, I used to be primarily fascinated by math, physics and biology. Although we additionally took our first steps in programming on the Informatik-AG, I discovered it terribly boring. After graduating from highschool, I truly wished to check medication, however after I didn’t get a spot at college, I made a decision to grow to be a trainer for the topic mixture biology and physics.

However, throughout my bachelor’s research I spotted that my curiosity within the pure sciences was a lot deeper and I used to be anxious that in the long term I might not take pleasure in working as a trainer. For this motive, I dared to make the leap and determined to check physics.

During my grasp’s diploma, I got here into contact with machine studying increasingly more by means of programs and thru my thesis – and I knew instantly that this might be an essential subject in Germany sooner or later. After commencement, nevertheless, it was troublesome to discover a job as an information scientist. As far as I do know, the title didn’t even exist but. That’s why I first ended up in software program growth.

How did you find yourself in your profession path? Did you obtain help from your loved ones and associates?

First and foremost, my dad and mom at all times supported my curiosity and by no means gave me the impression that I couldn’t do one thing simply because I used to be a lady or now a girl. In addition, my leap from Realschule to Gymnasium wouldn’t have been potential if my center faculty director hadn’t stated “yes” again then. That was definitely nice luck! I’m particularly grateful to my professor within the physics division on the LMU Munich, who made it potential for me to work along with completely different disciplines and institutes and gave me a number of freedom.

Furthermore, I work in an organization that’s explicitly dedicated to selling younger feminine expertise in IT. Although I actually now not belong to the “new generation”, I’m happy that there are increasingly more corporations which might be making concrete presents to cut back the worry of contact with the so-called MINT topics, particularly amongst younger ladies. In the case of my employer Micromata, for instance, this occurs throughout the framework of “Girls Go Informatics”, a joint mission with the University of Kassel. An extra sensible help is definitely that our personnel group could be very involved in regards to the compatibility of household and profession – for instance with versatile working hours, house workplace and a parent-child workplace.

My dad and mom at all times supported my curiosity.

A day in Laura’s life

I work as Head of Data Science on the Kassel-based software program firm Micromata, the place I’m chargeable for driving ahead Data Science, Big Data and AI as new enterprise areas. Because these endeavors are nonetheless younger, I work carefully with the advertising and marketing and acquisition group – for instance, I develop showcases and use instances for current and potential prospects to indicate them the added worth of Data Science for his or her particular person enterprise areas, and perform small analyses to indicate them the potential that lies dormant in their very own enterprise and technical knowledge. Of course, this additionally offers me the chance to dispel one or two myths surrounding the subject.

In my spare time, I’m energetic on the information science platform Kaggle, the place knowledge scientists from all around the world compete towards one another in small competitions or make knowledge units and analyses out there as open supply content material. There I commonly publish articles and analyses on varied matters associated to pc imaginative and prescient, safety of machine studying algorithms or just exploratory analyses that assist to higher perceive the information of a contest.

In this manner I can constantly enhance my expertise and discover new matters that aren’t associated to present mission matters at work. This is a number of enjoyable, particularly since behind Kaggle there’s a very energetic, useful group that shares its information and helps one another.

Why aren’t there extra ladies in tech?

Unfortunately, it occurs sometimes {that a} girl in a “man’s job” is underestimated in her competences and skills. This doesn’t even need to occur deliberately, however for my part is solely resulting from unconscious reflexes, which in flip are primarily based on the distribution of roles that you just skilled your self in childhood. Unfortunately, I’ve already skilled this: In a gathering, subsequent to the – naturally feminine! – assistant to the boss, I assumed I used to be the one different girl within the room. Only to find that this feminine “assistant” was truly the boss herself. So watch out for stereotypes and unconscious prejudices – on each side!

I believe that entrenched patterns of pondering can solely change in skilled life if extra ladies enter the tech business or STEM topics. As quickly as this has grow to be regular relatively than uncommon, the outdated function mannequin will disappear.

In addition, the compatibility of labor and household should enhance, particularly since ladies typically take over the care of youngsters as a result of males are higher paid. Equal pay for equal work must be a matter in fact. In addition, extra versatile working time fashions and extra openness in the direction of distant work and residential workplace are very useful, as I can say from my very own expertise.

Beware of stereotypes and unconscious prejudices – on each side!

Would our world be completely different if extra ladies labored in STEM?

Anyone fascinated by occupations in science, expertise, engineering, and arithmetic (STEM) ought to have the chance to be taught and follow one – no matter gender, age, social or cultural background. Companies and growth groups can profit drastically from variety, particularly if the completed product is to achieve many alternative teams of individuals and work equally nicely for all of them.

I’m pondering particularly of an instance from my on a regular basis life as an information scientist: the early detection of pores and skin most cancers utilizing pc imaginative and prescient. Algorithms which might be educated on picture knowledge with out variety fail right here due to all these instances that haven’t been thought of. In a extra various one, such a danger is decrease as a result of there are merely extra views, experiences and factors of view. This makes answer methods extra versatile and reduces the chance of cognitive distortions or blind spots.

I believe the dialogue about variety is essential. Just as a result of I’ve been fortunate in my life to have encountered hardly any open resistance, this doesn’t essentially apply to everybody. I personally additionally assume it’s important to not restrict the controversy on variety to gender points alone, however to know it as a dialogue for the participation of all in society.

Have you ever skilled any obstacles as a girl in tech?

So far I’ve encountered only some individuals who have intentionally tried to dam me in attaining my objectives.

And even then, with a bit of endurance and creativity, I used to be in a position to attain these objectives in different methods. One ought to merely not be intimidated and completely belief one’s personal abilities.

Apart from the unconscious reflexes that I’ve simply described and the aforementioned set screws for extra equal remedy and household friendliness at work, I have to say that I personally have skilled little or no gender discrimination.

What recommendation (and suggestions) would you give to ladies who desire a tech profession?

Have religion in your self! If you encounter obstacles or rejection alongside the best way, don’t be discouraged. There are at all times prospects to achieve your objectives. You don’t have to go it alone, however relatively use the networks of like-minded individuals who can help you straight and not directly. Have the braveness to make essential selections for your self and to form your life confidently in your individual curiosity.

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